Humans of #IsraelEd

The questions and prompts below are inspired by the personal stories of Humans of #IsraelEd 5776.

  • What text would appear next to your picture if you were featured in "Humans of #IsraelEd"?
  • What significance does Hebrew play in your life?
  • Who is someone that you would like to reach out to, despite the unlikelihood of receiving a reply?
  • When was a time that you let yourself feel discomfort for the sake of a greater opportunity?
  • When you reflect upon the best version of yourself, what do you tend to return back to?
  • Where and how are you able to impact others’ growth, and your own?
  • What is the story of your name?
  • If you could be transported to any period in time in Israeli history, when would it be and why?
  • What is one way that you feel part of the Jewish dynasty?
  • What is something that connects you to Israel?
  • Has there been a time when you brought light to an unexpected place?
  • How has your relationship with people influenced your relationship with an experience?
  • If you could eat anything in Israel, what would it be?
  • What is one landmark that is especially significant to you?
  • How do you bring a part of home with you where you go?
  • What is a spontaneous adventure that you took?
  • What jewelry or memorabilia do you have that tells a story?
  • Which of your teachers had a strong impact on you, and why did that person make an impression?
  • Reflect upon a time when you played a significant role in a group project, and what it meant to be part of a group’s success.
  • What is a way that you were able to connect with somebody that you otherwise had difficulty connecting to?
  • How do you make room for play in your work?
  • Which photo on your phone would you share with someone when telling them about yourself?
  • Reflect upon a time when you witnessed someone have a burst in their eyes.
  • What is something truly amazing that you recently discovered?
  • Can you recall a time when you realized that you were part of something much larger than you had originally thought?
  • Think about an individual in your life whose impact is far reaching.  
  • When have you been wrong about a first impression that you formed about somebody, and how did that impact your relationship with that person?
  • Which city holds a special place in your heart, and why?
  • What opportunities have helped you determine what you are interested in exploring?
  • Reflect upon a time when you were able to get past a disagreement with someone for the sake of the relationship.  
  • What is one tradition in your family that you hope to continue?
  • How have you given others the opportunity to grow?
  • Recall a time when you kept your eye on the end goal, despite the obstacles along the way.
  • Reflect upon a time where a physical setting directly impacted your experience.
  • What Hebrew word do you have a personal connection to?
  • What scent do you associate with a specific memory?
  • Do you have any souvenirs that you have collected that help you remember a significant trip?
  • What is something that you recently did for the first time?  
  • Can you recall a time when you were present in a moment?
  • What are some of your traditions that you’ve established for when you travel to Israel?
  • What is the significance of your last name, and what story does it tell about your family?
  • What is one way that you benefitted from taking a risk?
  • How have you found significance in a person, place or event through someone else’s story?
  • In what ways have you played with, discovered, and explored Judaism, and what did you learn as a result?
  • How far have you gone to pursue something you’re passionate about?
  • Reflect upon a time when you felt empowered by your ability to give to others.
  • Do you have any secret forms of connection with someone you admire?  
  • Take a few minutes to think about what your neighbors are up to in life, and see if and how that excites you.

"Humans of ______" Activity

Create your own “Humans of" to elicit and capture personal anecdotes, stories, and reflections of those around you. 

  1. Ask questions that can create a connection and spark conversation.
    (See Questions for Reflection tab above for inspiration)
  2. Be mindful of the questions you're asking.
  3. Following the conversation, capture a meaningful part of the story you heard to share with others. This is the text that will appear in your “Humans of _____."
  4. Compile your "Humans of _____" profiles and share them.

Additional Exercises

Exercise #1: Relating and Relationship Building

Humans of #IsraelEd 5776 are excerpts of informal conversations. When people first meet, conversation is often lighthearted; questions like, “What is your name?”, “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” are common conversation starters. Often we try to find commonalities and points of connection to allow conversation to develop by asking questions that are easily answerable and relatable. 

Reaching the point of meaningful dialogue requires a natural progression. By providing a framework for the conversation, and by asking engaging questions, it is likely that dialogue will develop and “Humans of”-type anecdotes will emerge.

In this exercise, you will have the chance to practice developing a dialogue. Review the following list of questions (or create your own), choose two, and discuss with a partner for about five minutes.

  • What makes you laugh?
  • Aside from necessities (food, water, shelter), what is something could you not go a day without?
  • What’s something you carry with you regularly that connects you to the Jewish people?

After practicing with a partner, take a step back and analyze how the conversation went.

  • Did the questions help establish a connection or a level of comfort?  
  • If so, which questions will you keep with you in your back pocket?  
  • If not, what type of questions would have helped make the conversation flow better?

Each person should be asked to write a list of several questions to carry with them. If running this activity in a group setting, everyone can share their questions with the group.

Exercise #2 – It’s All About the Questions

Being fully present in a conversation requires that we remember to be:

  1. Mindful of the questions that we ask.
  2. More interested than interesting.
  3. Focused on the conversation and the person we’re speaking with instead of on ourselves.  

For example, if someone is sharing an experience in Tel Aviv on Yom Ha’atzmaut, we could be interested and ask follow up questions about the celebrations that took place that night. Or, we can try to become the subject of the conversation and be interesting by turning the conversation to what we, ourselves, did on Yom Ha’atzmaut.  

To practice these points, select a profile from "Humans of #IsraelEd 5776" to focus on. Since you only have a portion of the conversation, consider what type of questions could have led to the response that appears. Write down some possibilities, and discuss them with a partner.

Practice role playing the entire conversation from beginning to end.  

  • If you could continue the conversation with the person in the profile you selected, what would you like to know more about? What would you ask, and why?
  • If you were featured in "Humans of #IsraelEd," what text would appear next to your picture?